MTB got me hooked. Strong Arm made me fall in love. With the show, with Lucas. All of the elements that make AG truly great television work in this ep. The smart, strong script, the high production values, excellence in performances from just about everyone, creepy special effects, the black humor; this ep has it all, except Merlyn. I even like Gail in this one! She gives "Charm School" quite a whallop. And she looks out for Caleb, for once.
Rather than take us through a summary, I'd like to make some points and leave us with a few questions to ponder. :)
1. I love it when Lucas plays mind games, and maaaannn, he's messes with people's heads with this one. Gotta wonder though, how much did he know, and when did he know it? Did the gang really take him as much by surprise as it appears? I tend to think so, because I do think that he had become complacent when the Pilot starts.
2. This is the ep that helps us understand why the townspeople haven't up and revolted before now. A little corruption is tolerated if the trains run on schedule. (Cassidy and crew seem prophetic now.) These people truly expect Lucas to take care of them, he's almost like a parent, and they are his children. When they don't do what he wants, he punishs them. "I want respect. Obediance," he states in PS. Very parental. But is there love there? Not enough to temper the harshness of his order, that's for certain. But is there any at all? I know Merlyn's answer. <g>
3. Did Merlyn help Caleb, or was that roar the mark of his father in him?
4. What do you believe happened to "Charm School" Earl?
5. As I said, I liked Gail in this one, but she does what she did with Drey, she allows Lucas to handle things with Earl without truly questioning him or checking up later. What is up with that? We know she doesn't trust him, so I gotta wonder how strong her conscience really is? Ben's seems in better shape, and that's sad.
6. Speaking of Ben, which do you think hurt worse at the end of the show, his ribs or his conscience? Personally, I think that man had nightmares about that scream for weeks afterwards.
7. Caleb has his father's sense of justice in this one, though it's not nearly as creative. "Are you gonna shoot them? I guess they have it comin'." (Or something like that.) It's definitely biblical. He has compassion for those he believes are good, like Dr. Matt, but justice is harsh for the wrongdoers. Interesting, that later on, he's the one to remind Merly that even people who make mistakes deserve compassion. He's very accepting of Lucas in this one. Jokes with him, and seeks him out, though he never expects Lucas to save him.
8. Why *does* Caleb take the case of ill-gotten goods?
Think that's enough for now. Have at it, and have fun. :)